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Double Rush aired from January until April 1995 on CBS.
Johnny Verona ( Robert Pastorelli),was an idealistic free spirit and former musician who owned The Double Rush bicycle messenger service in Manhattan. A gruff but fatherly guy who mused about his failure to become a rock star 25 years before, Johnny took a personal interest in the lives of his employees. Working for him were Barkley(Sam Lloyd), the spaced-out dispatcher; Hunter ( David Arquette), the young dare-devil who gloried in speeding through midtown traffic on his bike; Zoe ( Corinne Bohrer), a neurotic Harvard Business School Graduate who was biding her time until she found her dream job; Leo ( Adam Goldberg), a cynical self-centered young former delinquent; Marlon ( D.L. Hughley), a young husband and father with a legendary ability to con people; and The Kid ( Phil Leeds), who at 75 moved painfully slowly; however after working as a messenger for 58 years, he knew every shortcut in the city.
Diane English ( Murphy Brown) was the executive producer of this sitcom.
A Review from The Baltimore Sun
Drawing on earlier hits, 'Double Rush' is the best of CBS' trio of new sitcoms
January 02, 1995|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic
"Double Rush" is a little bit of "Cheers," a lot of "Taxi" and a taste of rock 'n' roll.
Replace the taxis in "Taxi" with bicycles and the cab drivers with messengers, and you pretty much have the situation part of this promising new CBS situation comedy, which premieres Wednesday.
The main set is an underground garage in Manhattan where orders arrive for cross-town package deliveries. The garage is populated by the manager of the Double Rush messenger service, Johnny Verona (Robert Pastorelli), and his band of misfit messengers.
Verona is a '60s idealist-verging-on-burnout who once played guitar with Eric Clapton. A vintage Fender guitar hangs in his office, to remind baby boomer viewers not only of the lead character's past but also theirs. At the end of tonight's pilot, Verona picks up the guitar and starts to play. That's the taste of rock 'n' roll part.
The "Cheers" part happens when a perky young Harvard graduate named Zoe (Corinne Bohrer) arrives with a rush order for a job pitch she's making to an advertising agency. Zoe gets turned down by the agency, but signs on with the bike brigade -- temporarily, she insists.
This is exactly how Diane Chambers (another highly educated and perky blond) came to work at Cheers "strictly on a temporary basis."
The rest of the cast involves lots of lovable losers, eccentrics and wise-cracking New Yorkers -- ranging in age from Generation X to way beyond the silver years.
They all face the reality -- and often the strangeness -- of daily life in Manhattan as they maneuver around the city in fierce competition with other delivery companies and the clock.
In the pilot, Double Rush races a competing agency for a new account: The first to deliver a package to its destination gets the new client. Between the messenger and victory are unexpected traffic tie-ups, a gay pride parade, construction work and blocked-off streets -- things that commuters in any major city are heir to.
Its feel for the misery of gridlock, if nothing else, ought to make this series a hit in major cities.
But there are lots of things to like about this series.
It understands and appreciates generational differences. Yes, the manager and surrogate father of Double Rush is a baby boomer, but many of the voices in his employ are those of Generation Xers who appear to have something to say to, as well as to teach, Verona. And in a refreshing twist, the hero of the pilot turns out to be a character who's 75 years old and proud of it.
"Double Rush" is produced by Diane English and Joel Shukovsky, the husband-and-wife team that makes "Murphy Brown," which is explanation enough of what makes it seem smart. It also explains how Pastorelli, Eldon of "Murphy Brown," wound up as Johnny Verona.
"Double Rush" is ultimately about having attitude -- especially when you haven't got much else.
In the second episode, Verona tells one of his minions why he admires basketball star and former Madonna boyfriend Dennis Rodman.
"Rodman is my man," Verona says. "He's got tattoos. He dyes his hair. He doesn't play by the rules, and he's still a champion. He's just like us, except he's not broke."
The Nielsen ratings show that viewers are identifying with TV characters who are broke or nearly broke but who work hard and have integrity -- characters like Roseanne's Roseanne and Brett Butler's Grace. Johnny Verona has the same kind of stuff.
If "Double Rush" can get a better time spot than 9 Wednesday nights after the all-but-dead "Hearts Afire," CBS is going to have itself a hit.
A Review from Variety
Posted: Tue., Jan. 3, 1995, 11:00pm PT
(Wed. (4), 9-9:30 p.m., CBS)
By Todd Everett
Filmed in Los Angeles by Shukovsky English Entertainment. Executive producers , Stephen Nathan, Diane English, Joel Shukovsky; director, Michael Lembeck; writers, Nathan, English.
Cast: Robert Pastorelli, David Arquette, Corinne Bohrer, Adam Goldberg, D.L. Hughley, Phil Leeds, Sam Lloyd, Richard Portnow.
An amiable new sitcom from the Diane English camp features Robert Pastorelli as the chief of a low-rent NYC bicycle messenger service. Intended resemblance to previous hitcoms -- especially "Taxi" and "Cheers"-- is obvious. What the show lacks in originality though, it makes up for with a viewer-friendly cast of familiar types, if not faces.
One, a musician and potential rock star, Johnny Verona (Pastorelli), has spent the past 20 years in the messenger ranks, now owning his own outfit, dubbed "Double Rush" (the term means faster than "rush" service and billable as such).
The current staff includes a bunch of lovable misfits -- daredevil Hunter (David Arquette); naive Leo (Adam Goldberg); young, black, family man Marlon (D.L. Hughley); 75-year-old messenger "The Kid" (Phil Leeds); and cynical dispatcher Barkley (Sam Lloyd).Into this established crew walks perky blonde Zoe (Corinne Bohrer), a flighty, neurotic Harvard business school grad who's having trouble finding a job. It's as if Diane Chambers had walked into this place instead of a Boston bar. Bohrer plays her well enough, but it's been done, definitively.
Richard Portnow appears in the recurring role of Ed Foley, shady owner of a competing -- and more successful -- messenger service.
Bulk of the debut episode is devoted to setting up the situation and defining characters, with Zoe's arrival and a race between Double Rush and Foley's crew serving as plotlines.
Script, by show's creators Stephen Nathan and English, packs a lot of exposition into 22 minutes without seeming too cramped under Michael Lembeck's canny direction.
Pastorelli is a strong peg upon which to hang a series and cast members hold their own -- though the current timeslot opposite "Roseanne" looks less like a showcase than a (brief) sentence.
Camera, Gerald Perry Finnnerman; editor, Kenny Tintorri; art director, Debe Hale; sound, Phil Brown; music, Jonathan Wolff.
A Review From The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Turning In the Paintbrush for Bikes
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: January 11, 1995
Of all the new shows crowding the television schedule this month, none have more sustained energy and promise than CBS's "Double Rush." Robert Pastorelli, formerly Eldin the house painter on "Murphy Brown," stars as Johnny Verona, a lovable lug who owns a Manhattan bicycle-messenger service. Back in the 1960's, Johnny was a rock musician who dreamed of being a legend yet turned down a lucrative contract because the rest of his group wasn't included in the offer. He still has a heart of gold, along with some treasured photographs taken with Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend and a Fender Stratocaster guitar once owned by Jimi Hendrix.
Now idealistic Johnny has to deal with cynical Generation X'ers, one of whom asks, "If Drew Barrymore were your leader, would you be in a hurry to get on with your life?" The messenger staff includes the delinquentlike Leo (Adam Goldberg), the daredevil Hunter (David Arquette), described as "the only man who can beat a fax machine"; the smooth Marlon (D. L. Hughley), always on the hustle for another buck; Zoe (Corinne Bohrer), a Harvard Business School graduate discovering the realities of the job market, and the Kid (Phil Leeds), a sly 78-year-old foot messenger who acknowledges that Hunter is fast "but he doesn't have my grace."
The philosophical dispatcher is Barkley (Sam Lloyd), who sends his charges racing all over New York while muttering about "time, of course, being a relative thing." As bikes flit in and out of the ingeniously designed set, Johnny plays ringmaster, sometimes cracking the whip but generally being a sympathetic father confessor. The series has echoes of "Taxi" but actually its roots go back even further, to those old movies with Leo Gorcey and the Bowery Boys and their proletarian antics.
Johnny's former boss and chief competitor has already made an offer to buy him out, but the deal would not include his staff. No way. Johnny is not about to desert "my people." The nasty entrepreneur threatens to crush Johnny "and your whole pathetic gang of minimum-wage losers." But he has an attractive daughter who falls into a love-at-first-sight relationship with Hunter, who promptly reveals to her his basic approach to life: "Close your eyes, cross your fingers and run the red."
"Double Rush" has a catchy urban beat, reinforced with the opening credits and occasional filmed scenes that feature the messengers tearing through New York City streets on their bikes. The cast is already coalescing into a solid and disarming ensemble. And Mr. Pastorelli stays charmingly in charge. Definitely one to keep an eye on. DOUBLE RUSH CBS, tonight at 9 P.M. (Channel 2 in New York) Premiere directed by Michael Lembeck from a script by Stephen Nathan and Diane English; Russ Woody, co-executive producer; Jim Herzfeld, producer; Michael Curtis and Greg Malins, executive story editors; Caryn Lucas, story editor; Don Reilly, associate producer. A Shukovsky English Entertainment production; Ms. English, Mr. Nathan and Joel Shukovsky, executive producers. WITH: Robert Pastorelli (Johnny Verona), David Arquette (Hunter), Corinne Bohrer (Zoe), Adam Goldberg (Leo), D. L. Hughley (Marlon), Phil Leeds (the Kid), Sam Lloyd (Barkley) and Richard Portnow (Ed Foley).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Double Rush (1995)
Reviewed by Ken Tucker | Jan 13, 1995
Details Genre: Comedy; With: David Arquette and Robert Pastorelli
Robert Pastorelli has exchanged his Eldin overalls in Murphy Brown for an old leather jacket in double rush, but his comic persona remains the same: amiable lunkhead, cranky guy with a heart of gold. As Johnny Verona, he is the head of Double Rush, a Manhattan bicycle-messenger service whose headquarters look like a dank variation on the garage from Taxi. And like Taxi, the cast consists of a family-style group of screw-ups and screwballs. There are a number of talented actors here, including David Arquette as a spacey daredevil of a bicyclist, Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused) as a moody messenger, and Phil Leeds as a spry senior-citizen delivery boy. But for a project from Murphy Brown's Diane English, Double Rush falls curiously flat, full of formulaic jokes. Pastorelli and the cast are charming, but the show needs many more solid laughs. C
Here's Robert Pastorelli's Obituary From USA Today, published on March 9, 2004.
Murphy Brown' actor Pastorelli dies
By Cesar G. Soriano, USA TODAY
Robert Pastorelli, the gruff but loveable painter on Murphy Brown, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home Monday of a suspected drug overdose. He was 49.
Pastorelli in a scene from ABC's Cracker, a series that aired in 1997.
By Bob D'Amico, ABC
His body was discovered by his assistant in a bathroom, according to Access Hollywood, which first reported the actor's death. The Los Angeles County coroner's office said drug paraphernalia was found near Pastorelli. An autopsy is planned.
Pastorelli was best known as Eldin Bernecky, the housepainter, nanny and confidante to Candice Bergen's character on Murphy Brown. He appeared on the CBS series from 1988 to 1994, earning one Emmy nomination. He left the show to star in his own short-lived sitcom, Double Rush.
"He's not just a house painter. He's an artist," Pastorelli told USA TODAY in 1992 about the part that made him a cult figure. "He keeps Murphy emotionally grounded. He smooths the lumps in her emotional oatmeal."
"You do a show and go home and you don't realize the impact you're having," Pastorelli told USA TODAY in 1992. "Then one day you're returning Christmas presents at a mall in New Jersey and you hear people behind you talking. You say, 'Oh yeah. I do that TV thing. Yeah.'"
The former boxer-turned-actor grew up in Edison, N.J. He had some minor scuffles with the law as a youngster and was so broke at one point that he was living in a car. He turned to acting, racking up dozens of TV and movie credits. His films include Dances with Wolves, Beverly Hills Cop II and Michael.
Last month, Pasterelli completed filming Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty. The movie starring John Travolta and Uma Thurman is set to open in February 2005.
"MGM and the filmmakers of Be Cool are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Robert Pastorelli," the studio said in a statement. "He was a pleasure to work with, a wonderful actor, and our hearts go out to his family and friends in this difficult time."
On the small screen, Pastorelli's last series was the 1997 ABC drama Cracker, playing a police psychologist. In 2001, he co-starred in a TV version of South Pacific opposite Glenn Close. The two were romantically linked, but Close said they were just friends.
Sadly, Pastorelli's life was mired in tragedy.
He was nearly killed in a car crash on his 19th birthday. In 1999, his girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the same house where Pastorelli died. The couple had a daughter, who turned 6 on Saturday.
At his daughter's birthday party, Pastorelli appeared "happy and very focused," according to a statement issued by his publicity firm, BWR Public Relations. The statement continued: "While we are awaiting the results of the autopsy, we are aware that he had been injecting Vitamin B12 prescribed by his physician."
A memorial service is being planned in Los Angeles. Pastorelli will be buried in New York.
Contributing: The Associated Press
To watch the pilot wpisode of Double Rush go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmWmTCx9-6I and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w_ou1tFjEc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6zGreqTc7U
For more on Double Rush go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Rush
For some Double Rush-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/double-rush
To watch the opening credits of Double Rush go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLd3IXPGEtQ
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Keywords: Double Rush Cast (Links Updayed 7/26/18)